‘I Can See Clearly Now’

If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?

This month’s great idea is from Harvey Cohen. Cohen, the father of Crystal Cohen (see “Big Idea” in the June issue), is an alarm dealer on Long Island, N.Y., who lost virtually all of his sight. With the help of his daughter, Cohen is able to remain president of Response-Ability Inc. 


“With all of your senses still intact and with everything that you have to be grateful for in front of you, focus on the things that are really important and let the minutia — the flotsam of life — flow gently away. Fight the good fight, and recognize that success in any endeavor not only is dependent upon the achievement, but also how we see it.”

If many of us would have experienced a similar loss of one of our senses, we certainly would have despaired, probably felt sorry for ourselves and would not have been able to function as effectively as Cohen. That is what led me to explore the continuation of the Cohen saga and devote consecutive columns to one family.

“Now that I am virtually blind, I can see things far more clearly,” Cohen says.

Cohen is a wonderful example of not just “the glass is half full” philosophy, but rather “the world is more perfect than the imperfections that many of us see” outlook. The industry we’re in still holds amazing promise and wonderful opportunity! While I’m paraphrasing, that is Cohen’s philosophy and the life that he leads is a perfect example of it.

Cohen is now able to “see” the more important aspects of the world he lives in. He understands that people are truly more valuable than possessions, and certainly his family is at the top of that list.

However, Cohen depends upon others, customers, employees, as well as family and friends and through that dependence he has started to see the world as it really is.

He now understands how important people are — both the ones we serve as well as the ones with whom we work — and how unimportant some of the other more material aspects of our lives really are.

Deliver an Important Message

As I thought about Cohen, his daughter and his family, I started to realize that the more successful alarm dealers in our industry all seem to have the attribute of being virtually unstoppable.

I recall being at a Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) convention when then-CSAA President and Vector Security CEO John Murphy showed up after having overcome severe illness that would have kept a horse from walking out of the stable. Yet there he was, more than 5,000 miles from home to deliver what he considered an important message to the industry.

Well, Cohen has an important message for the industry and for everyone who works in it. Focus on the important things. And as his “great idea” says, achievements and success are based on how we perceive them.

I know this seems philosophical, however, elsewhere in this great magazine and in this industry there are all sorts of ideas about technology, installation, service and the rest.

Perhaps we can learn from a person who sees more clearly than any of us would ever have thought possible.

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About the Author


Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Marketing Group (DMG), a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates Int’l in the 1980s.

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